Government Minister, Daryl Vaz says the Holness Administration is sensitive to the need to have all Jamaicans given access to public beaches, while at the same time maintaining the quality of the island’s tourism product.
Minister Vaz says he’s heartened by activity on public and private beaches over the just concluded holiday weekend.
In the meantime, Minister Vaz is rejecting a suggestion by University Professor, Carolyn Cooper, that the Guardsman Group only has to pay JMD$13,000 per year for its control of the Puerto Seco beach in St. Ann under a lease agreement.
Mr. Vaz is also noting that the deal wasn’t struck by the current administration.
Daryl Vaz, Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the Environment, speaking yesterday with Nationwide News.
Minister Vaz says before Guardsman took control of the Puerto Seco Beach, the property was under another lease agreement where members of the public paid over 3-hundred dollars to use the beach.
Gleaner Columnist and Professor of Literatures in English, Prof. Carolyn Cooper has accused the new operators of the Puerto Seco beach in Discovery Bay, St Ann of overdevelopment.
This after the new operators, Guardsman group reportedly hiked the entry fees at the beach on the recent independence weekend.
Professor Cooper says the overdevelopment has forced the price hike for the locals seeking to enjoy the facility.
It’s understood beach entry fees increased on the weekend to almost double the regular cost to locals.
It’s also understood patrons are not allowed to bring external food items onto the property as part of the owners move to recoup their investment.
Laura Herron is the General Manager at the Puerto Seco Beach facility.
The recent hike in entry fees and food at the beach led to a protest by residents disputing the changes.